It Takes a Year…

When I first arrived in England I determined not to sit on the fence when it came to volunteering at our church and around the neighbourhood.  I was experienced and wanted to do what I could for my local community.

I spoke to heads of ministries and the priest at our parish church, which was just a short, five minute walk down the road.  There was a lot I could do but nobody seemed interested to take on board a willing volunteer to help with the 80% of work typically done by 20% of the congregation.

I was occassionally asked to read at one of the weekday masses, nothing more.

I applied at the local hospice, both for a part time job and as a volunteer.

I sent out and hand delivered CV’s to all the surrounding schools and daycares.

Not a thing.

My telephone and in-box stubbornly remained silent and empty.

The small Beckenham theatre was the only place where my offer of help was taken to heart.  I have a feeling no-one else was available to work over the Christmas holidays.  Unless they had the added bonus of being on stage and lapping up some of the audience appreciation they preferred to take the time off and spend it with family.

Now that we have a return date to America something odd has been going on.

I have been included on the reader’s rosta at church.  When I was approached last week, I told them I would only be here until July but they included me anyway.  I am scheduled to read three times, two of those times I cannot do, I will be back in America!

A young man asked me,

“When did you put yourself forward as a reader?”

“Last June!” I replied.  He was taken aback.

“Perhaps God wanted me to sit in the pews during my time here,” I continued.

And perhaps He did because I am not really good at waiting on the Lord.  After eleven months I have improved and find myself enjoying my worship experience.

Folk we know by sight are coming up to hubs and me and introducing themselves,

“I’ve seen you every Sunday for months and am ashamed to say I have never introduced myself,” is a familiar cry now.

They are crestfallen when they discover we are on our way home in a couple of months.

I remarked to hubs,

“It really does take a year,

“For people to notice you enough to realise you are here to stay,

“For our quiet presence to make an impact,

“To have proved ourselves faithful,

“For people to finally smile or even say hello,

“For our name to get around.”

It’s like a domino effect, one person recognises what we have to offer and suddenly everyone wants to get in on the act!

Unfortunately they are too late.

If only we were staying another year to reap what we have sown.

In a day or so I’ll probably be warding off job offers coming in from right and left.

Sigh…becoming part of a community does take a year.


Share this:

No comments so far!

Leave a Comment